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Understand Google's advertising policies, including ad approval status and account suspension
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Policy Question - Where is the line?

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 1
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

A domain I work with was recently suspended per AdWords Information Harvesting policy. I have read the policy, understand the suspension, and am working to rectify it. My question is with regards to:

 

Google doesn't allow the promotion of sites that offer incentives in order to collect users' personal information (such as free quiz/survey results, horoscopes, etc.) where collecting this information is the primary purpose of the site.

 


I'd like to get some indicator as to where the line of primary purpose is. I was running ads that led to a page which provided the user some information regarding event marketing, and contained a form they could complete to get the full event and trade show marketing guide. A common B2B offer/incentive, often used.

 

What I'm wondering is why that was suspended when many, many other B2B organizations do the same thing without issue. For example, HubSpot:

 

http://offers.hubspot.com/h3-demo-overview?source=ppc-adwords-hubspot-brand-name-20120901

 

Postcard Mania:

 

http://www.postcardmania.com/postcards/?cpao=111&cpca=direct+mail&cpag=direct+mail+only*call&kw=dire...

 

Bzzagent:

 

http://about.bzzagent.com/go/start-building-advocacy?pi_ad_id=23824711902

 

And many, many, many more. You can Google "marketing white paper", and 70% of the ads will link to a landing page with a form.

 

Re-iterating the question, if the landing page appeard as part of the regular site, and not as part of a campaign-specific microsite, would the domain past muster?

2 Expert replyverified_user

Re: Policy Question - Where is the line?

Top Contributor
# 2
Top Contributor

Hi NBoylan,

 

The policies can be tricky at times and the best any of us can do is make educated guesses.  The main difference between your site and the other ones listed is that you have one page with the sole intention of giving away your information in return for user information.

 

What else can someone do at that site...look at the privacy policy, which after a very quick glance and search, did not say much about what you will be doing with my personal information if I do fill out the form.

 

The issue is probably not your approach, IMO, it's more likely due to the fact that there is nothing other than this page, which is for collection of information.

 

Does that help?

 

-Tom

Tommy Sands, AdWords Top Contributor | Community Profile | Twitter | Philly Marketing Labs
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Re: Policy Question - Where is the line?

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 3
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

It does help, thanks! We had the option of building the page as it's own microsite or just building it out on the main site. We placed it independently, since we had to build the microsite for the direct mail PURLs anyway. 

 

I'm hoping that if we move this page to the primary domain (which is a full website), we will be eligible again.

Re: Policy Question - Where is the line?

Top Contributor
# 4
Top Contributor

Hello; welcome;

In addition to Tom's answer, I would say that it looks that your site's primary goal is to collect personal info in return for an e-book. This is specifically prohibited by the Policy

Moshe, AdWords Top Contributor , Twitter | Linkedin | Community Profile | Ad-Globe
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Re: Policy Question - Where is the line?

Explorer ✭ ✭ ☆
# 5
Explorer ✭ ✭ ☆
PURL direct mail main focus is to generate leads and harvest information. This is against the information harvesting policy and I don't suspect anything that you do will be in compliance of Adwords information harvesting. Even though I see tons of big corporations using these same type of tactics on their websites, which is against policy even if you are not advertising harvesting landing pages on Adwords, it is still against their policy. I'm very interested to find out how these big corporations are able to use these same tactics without being punished.

Re: Policy Question - Where is the line?

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 6
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

@MosheTLV I understand that, however I'm questioning how many other advertisers do the exact same thing without issue. Further, there seems to be a line and caviat for "primary purpose." For example, if my ads led to an informational landing page, and elsewhere on the site there was a form that did lead capture, would that also be in violation (as it exists on the same domain, but isn't a subject of the ad)?

Re: Policy Question - Where is the line?

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 7
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

@leatherlidinser I really hope there is some gray line in this issue, particularly considering this is an extremely common item in B2B and long-cycle sales. There are several major advertisers that utilize this type of lead generation, and I'd like to hear a justification as to why it's okay for some and not for others.

 

Further, where is the line with regards to "incentive." Is a sample of a product incentive? If it wasn't an ebook, but a physical book, would there be an issue?

Re: Policy Question - Where is the line?

[ Edited ]
Explorer ✭ ✭ ☆
# 8
Explorer ✭ ✭ ☆

bzzagent is in direct violation of Adwords policy because they have hidden their "privacy policy" link on their landing page to where you cannot access it. Just look at the CSS and you will see that they have created a custom class specifically for the footer text to where the letter spacing is unreadable. That is malicious activity. So really not sure how they are able to continue advertising.

Hubspot, isn't offering something to download, so they are not against information harvesting policy. They are simply asking for your personal information so that someone can contact you about setting up a demo. This site is pretty straight forward and has a clear privacy policy in plain site near the bottom of the page.

PostCardMania isn't offering something to download as well. They are simply asking for basic shipping information so that they can send their prospects samples of their work. This isn't against information harvesting policy.

Goodluck

Re: Policy Question - Where is the line?

Explorer ✭ ✭ ☆
# 9
Explorer ✭ ✭ ☆
@nboylan why not have this landing page incorporated into your main website? Also, you may want to investigate instead of allowing them to download an ebook to actually have it shipped to the customer. Either way, it's a very subjective policy and most PPC networks have the same type of policy in place to protect it's users from these types of shady tactics. I'd suggest improving your user experience by adding more content so it doesn't look like you are just trying to collect information... but don't take my word for it because I'm not an employee of Google... just trying to give advice.

Re: Policy Question - Where is the line?

Top Contributor
# 10
Top Contributor

"bzzagent is in direct violation of Adwords policy because they have hidden their "privacy policy" link on their landing page to where you cannot access it."

 

The PP is available on every other page of the website.  A mistake perhaps, but not a direct violation.  

 

The problem here is the site in question is one page...only, the whole site.  Hard to make an argument that the sole purpose is for something else when all there is in total is one page with a form.

 

-Tom

Tommy Sands, AdWords Top Contributor | Community Profile | Twitter | Philly Marketing Labs
Did you find any helpful responses or answers to your query? If yes, please mark it as the ‘Best Answer.’